Police minister’s assurance on officer assaults

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne has welcomed an assurance by policing minister Kit Malthouse that custodial sentences for those who attack officers will be doubled.

Mr Malthouse told Federation reps that the Government would see through its promise and monitor the sentences that are handed out.

Steve said: “We’ve been appalled and sickened by the recent rises in attacks on officers and the weaponising of Covid-19 by suspects spitting on officers and claiming to have symptoms.

“An attack of any kind on officers is unacceptable, but this takes it to another level with the psychological distress that can follow.

“We need offenders who are brought to justice to face the maximum possible sentences because this can’t be allowed to continue.

“We need to give our members the support and protection they need to do their job, so it’s welcome to hear the minister’s assurance on this.”

Mr Malthouse, who was questioned by Fed reps on a range of issues during an online meeting, listed his top three priorities as getting crime down, recruiting 20,000 new officers and ensuring the police family is “happy, safe and well-motivated”.

On the officer uplift, he said: “We’ve already recruited 4,000 and I’m confident we’ll hit 6,000 before Christmas – which would be three months ahead of schedule.”

Steve said: “It’s pleasing to hear that the recruitment of officers is ahead of schedule. More officers will mean we’re able to provide more reassurance to the public and tackle the issues that are affecting our communities.

“But to do that, it’s important we use this recruitment process to bring in people from different backgrounds and with different experiences to reflect our communities.”

Mr Malthouse praised police officers for the relations they have built with communities which paid “enormous dividends” during the pandemic.

And he reiterated the Government’s support for introducing a Police Covenant and police driver protections “as soon as possible”. He also supported the idea of investigations into police officers by the Independent Office for Police Conduct should be expedited and more geared towards learning than punishment.

Steve said: “A Police Covenant, protections for police drivers and the speeding up of investigations into officers are all issues the Federation has been campaigning on, so it’s most welcome to hear the Government’s support for them.

“They’ll all make a difference to the wellbeing of our members and we’ll continue to press the case for them to ensure they come into being.”

  • The Police Powers and Protections Bill, which is due before Parliament later this year or early next, includes provisions for the Police Covenant and extra legal protection for police drivers.